Home Budgeting for Beginners

Have you ever made a home budget? If the answer is no, you aren’t alone. In a world where so many of us are living paycheck to paycheck, so few of us truly understand how to take control of our finances. We move from month to month, hoping for improvements, hoping that we’ll suddenly have more money, but not doing anything that might lead to these outcomes. While a home budget won’t suddenly mean that your bank account is still resplendent the day before payday, it will give you more control. A household budget will let you see how much money comes into your account, and where it is going. It will provide you with a clearer understanding of your money, and an easier way to spot places to save and make cuts. A household budget can help you to reach your financial goals, and improve your financial situations. But, only if you do it well. Here are some tips to help you. 

Create a Simple Spreadsheet 
Some people still prefer to use a pen and paper to track their finances. This is fine if you find it easier to manage, but writing everything down can be complicated and confusing. A simple budgeting spreadsheet is easy to edit and change, and gives you an effective way to monitor your income and outgoings, giving your running totals, and an easy way to instantly see how any cuts and changes that you might make could affect your finances. If you’ve got little or no experience with spreadsheets, it can be overwhelming. But, using a template means that you don’t have to learn any formulas yourself, you can use guides to learn more, and pick up new knowledge and skills as you go. 

Understand Your Finances 
Understanding your money is a great way to take control over it. Don’t just look at balances. Learn about interest rates and repayments. Find out more about how much your money is costing you, and look at your long-term financial habits by going back through old statements and charges. 

Know What You Need 
What do you want from your budget? Do you want to reduce debt, or free up some cash to save? Do you want to waste less money, or do you want some extra pocket money to do fun things and enjoy? Find ways to achieve this, for example look at a guarantor loans comparison and see if you could consolidate your debt. Perhaps closing old credit accounts to prevent overspending on them would help, or maybe you could take up a side hustle to earn more cash. 

Learn to Make Cuts 
Making cuts isn’t always easy. But, your budget, and especially a clear spreadsheet, can make it easier. You can clearly see what you are spending each month. It can often be easier than you think to cancel subscriptions of things you don't use, to buy some cheaper products at the supermarket or make a packed lunch for work rather than buying it each day. These things all add up to save money overall. 

Set Some Goals 
Budgets are great, but so are goals. Set yourself some small goals to help you to stay on track. Assess your goals regularly and make changes if needed. Your budget should be fluid, it shouldn’t remain the same forever. 

Celebrate Small Successes 
Budgeting can be dull. So let yourself celebrate (without spending money!) any small successes that you make. You could pack up a picnic and go on a day out, or have a pamper night with things you already have at home. You could cook a nice dinner, or have a movie night. Think of fun, cheap or free things to do when you reach each of your goals.